a. A 1988 movie starring a cross-dressing Divine and future talk show host Ricki Lake.
b. A Tony Award-winning Broadway musical based on the 1988 movie.
c. An upcoming feature film starring John Travolta and Queen Latifah based on the hit Broadway musical.
d. All of the above.
As mentioned in yesterday's morning mix, Hollywood is doing it again. That's right, if all goes according to New Line Cinema's diabolical plan John Travolta will be dancing and singing (in drag) across movie screens in summer 2007 as Edna Turnblad, a role originated by John Waters muse Divine. Don't get me wrong. I'm a fan of drag. I'm a fan of "Hairspray." I thought it was fabulous when the indie sleeper was reborn as a mainstream Broadway hit. What I'm not so happy about is that it's finding its way to the silver screen again. After all, the 1988 original is a classic.
And "Hairspray" is not alone. Although remakes are somewhat regular fare for Hollywood, the past few years seem to have been particularly rife with regurgitated hits: "Manchurian Candidate," "The Amityville Horror," "Cheaper By the Dozen," "The Longest Yard," "Freaky Friday," "Herbie: Fully Loaded," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "The Pink Panther" -- just to name a few.
This weekend the 1976 flick "The Shaggy D.A." will no doubt delight a new generation of kids and make Disney millions more as "The Shaggy Dog." (Note to Disney die-hards: While it shares the same name as the 1959 Fred MacMurray classic, it's plot is more akin to the later Dean Jones version). This time around, the film stars Tim Allen and Kristin Davis, both of whom should be ashamed. And for the rest of the year it will be almost impossible to walk into a multiplex without an eerie feeling of deja vu courtesy of more retreads: "The Hills Have Eyes," "Poseidon," "The Omen," "Miami Vice," "Charlotte's Web."
Sometimes the remakes are watchable -- equal to or even better than the original. Peter Jackson didn't waste either his time or the studio's money remaking "King Kong," but in most cases there's a noticeable degradation in quality from original to remake. And is anyone else itching to see the ridiculously talented Jackson tackle something completely new? Something where most of us don't already know the ending? (Luckily he's doing just that with "Halo" and "The Lovely Bones.")
And aren't there enough new scripts floating around Hollywood? Don't force Richard Linklater ("Slacker," "Dazed and Confused") to go to seed helming duds like last year's "Bad News Bears" remake. Let him create new classics from new scripts. I'll gladly line up at the box office to be surprised.
"Hairspray" is a classic and should be considered untouchable. Unless, of course, John Waters is down with the Travolta treatment, in which case I'm happy and look forward to the new, improved version of "Pink Flamingos" starring Jessica Simpson and Will Smith.
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